HERE, YOU CAN HAVE YOUR KIDDO BACK!

Posted by on Oct 8, 2015 in Adolescent Therapy, Anxiety, Blog, Child Therapy, Depression, Family Therapy, Grief and Loss | 0 comments

angry kid
Free digital imagery ANGRY KID

HERE, YOU CAN HAVE YOUR KIDDO BACK!

I’m serious. How many of you are pulling your hair, silently wondering if other parents go through THIS, asking, “Where did that child I love go?” There is help! Let’s remember, that underneath all the frustration you sometimes feel, you still truly love your child.

THE WHY’S First, we have to figure out WHY your kiddo is misbehaving. All of us behave and misbehave for a reason. We want something to start. We want something to stop. Most of all, we want attention.  Children misbehave because they feel like they don’t fit in. I often use the strategies of Dinkmeyer to help parents have their kiddos back. Some of what I say below has been reworded from the book Systematic Training for Effective Parenting.

WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF MISBEHAVIOR

  1. I want ATTENTION. The biggest things all children want is TIME, ATTENTION AND MATTERING. How will I know I MATTER to you if I can’t get your ATTENTION, children unconsciously say to themselves.

  2. I need POWER to feel like I matter to you. I have to be in control and be the boss of me.

  3. I feel the need for REVENGE. Kids who don’t feel loved, or who feel they have been hurt, or maybe even feel they are not loveable, often act this out through REVENGE.

  4. I have to show you HOW INADEQUATE I am. Don’t expect anything from me.

     5. I am ANXIOUS. I need comfort.I’m LONELY. Do something with me.

     6. I HATE MYSELF. See? I’m unlovable.

7. Is your child grieving a loss? Sometimes depression will be acted out or in. 

Why is it important to understand your child’s goal? So that you can start the ball rolling towards improved behavior. Here’s how you start.

FIRST, NOTICE YOUR OWN FEELINGS AND REACTIONS.

  1. If you feel ANNOYED and end up coaxing or nagging, then the GOAL WAS ATTENTION. Yup, you gave it to her.
  2. Did you feel ANGRY, feel your authority was threatened? If you fought, or gave in, his GOAL WAS POWER.
  3. Are you HURT, and did you want to RETALIATE? Then the GOAL WAS REVENGE.
  4. Or, did you just feel HOPELESS AND WANT TO GIVE UP? Yup, THE GOAL WAS INADEQUACY.
  5. Do you, also, feel ANXIOUS and wonder what to do? The goal was FEEL WHAT I FEEL. UNDERSTAND ME.
  6. Do you sometimes DISLIKE your kiddo, rather than the behavior? The GOAL MAY BE TO SHOW YOU HOW UNLOVEABLE HE/SHE FEELS.
  7. Do you feel helpless to understand and help your child? The GOAL MAY BE TO EXPRESS GRIEF.

NOTICE HOW YOUR CHILD RESPONDED TO YOU. According to the S.T.E.P. approach, your next step is to notice how your child responds to you.

  1. A child who seeks ATTENTION may temporarily obey, and then revert to old behavior.
  2. If your kiddo acts out, or is passive/aggressive, odds are she’s seeking POWER.
  3. Does your child intensify the misbehavior? It’s REVENGE.
  4. Or, does she passively respond or not improve at all, she may want to prove that she is INADEQUATE.
  5. An ANXIOUS child will either calm down or decrease in anxiety.
  6. A child who HATES HIMSELF will often revert to misbehavior to prove how unlovable he/she is.
  7. A DEPRESSED or GRIEVING child will either act out in anger or act in, by withdrawing.

SO, WHAT CAN A PARENT DO?

My ‘easy’ answers are IGNORE, WITHDRAW, AVOID and STOP, SOOTHE, LISTEN, PRAISE, COMFORT.

  1. IGNORE misbehavior and give lots of attention to positive actions.
  2. WITHDRAW from conflict. Urge cooperation and help in various activities.
  3. AVOID FEELING HURT. Check your feelings at the door. Love works better than harsh punishment.
  4. STOP ALL CRITICISM. Be a ‘compassionate witness’. Encourage positive attempts.
  5. SOOTHE, or remind child to SELF-SOOTHE.
  6. LISTEN to your child. PRAISE and remind her of her strengths and accomplishments.
  7. COMFORT and normalize grief. Seek help if depressed mood lasts.

These steps WILL work. But it takes time. If you need help, call me. I can give you encouragement. We can look at specific troubling behaviors. I have lots of parenting strategies. This is just the beginning. Breathe. Smile. YOU CAN HAVE YOUR KIDDO BACK.

                                     Call Claudia Trevithick-Creative Counseling at 720-242-9241 for help.

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